Capital Excellence

We help organizations deploy best-in-class thinking for maximum impact across their capital projects portfolios and project delivery value chain.

Too often, capital portfolios don’t translate overall strategy into capital allocation across a portfolio of projects. Many projects lack a mature and optimized business case and fail to return their cost of capital. The Capital Excellence approaches help improve returns and program performance across the entire portfolio with a rigorous, holistic methodology enabled by digital and agile techniques.

Our global network of experts challenge traditional approaches to capital productivity and partner with industry leaders—including owners, operators, and investors—to align capital strategy, optimize portfolios, and transform project development and delivery across asset classes. At each stage, we connect boardroom strategies to the frontline to discover, create, and ultimately grow value for all participants in the value chain and build teams with the right skills to manage complex workstreams.

By infusing technology and advanced analytics where and when it matters, combined with capability building, we drive impact on an end-to-end journey of capital transformation that results in reduced risks, saved money, accelerated progress, increased returns, and improved performance.


average capital cost savings


point average uplift in ROIC


typical reduction in project schedule timeline

What we do

Our work often begins with a rapid assessment, powered by Westney Capital Analytics, to provide our clients with an objective, fact-based view of strengths, opportunities, and the size of the value at stake.

Capital strategy and portfolio optimization

We partner with organizations to define strategic direction, optimize capital spend, and build enterprise-wide capex capabilities, including designing digital transformations.

Project development and value improvement

We identify and evaluate early stage projects and apply strategic levers to improve project business cases significantly. We also optimize design, procurement, and the critical enablers – organization, culture, capabilities, risk, contracting, digital and analytics – to realize the full potential of the project.

Project delivery and construction

We help deliver projects through a disciplined execution rhythm to accelerate schedules, improve safety outcomes, maintain quality, and reduce costs. This end-to-end value assurance and optimization support, tailored to major projects, can be further enhanced by full-time support from McKinsey experts embedded in the leadership team.

Our Approach

Analytics and technology

Applying analytics and technology is core to our approach, changing the way we help clients deliver projects. We combine proprietary solutions like Digital Control Tower and Project Production Management with advanced analytics through Westney Capital Analytics, and create partnerships with leading technology providers. This ecosystem of innovators allows us to deliver leading-edge solutions that support capital portfolio performance by improving project management, identifying project complexities, and predicting outcomes.

Capability building

Maintaining capital portfolio performance requires the right mix of team skills to sustain the impact of transformations in the long term. In addition to ongoing coaching throughout projects, we help clients embed new capabilities with McKinsey Academy’s Capital Excellence program, and build digital skills through our proprietary education and external partnerships.

Impact stories

Getting smart about capital spending

An energy company transforms how it plans capital projects, freeing up billions to enter new markets.

An engineering and construction giant reignites profitable growth

Better strategy and strong leadership pipeline unlock growth, boost revenues, and safeguard margins.

Strategic approach to hospital design and construction cuts cost by 20 percent

Improvements to building costs, construction approaches, and procurement help a US healthcare provider reduce capital costs and raise service quality.

Featured Video

Innovation & Learning Centers: Venice Expansion

When we expanded our Innovation & Learning Center in Venice, we used our own expertise to delivery the project. Watch what we learned.

Featured Insights


Reimagining engineering to deliver more projects, more efficiently

– A new, tech-enabled operating model is critical if the engineering sector is to deliver the infrastructure needed for everything from climate commitments and the energy transition, to revamped cities.


How capital project owners can get just-in-time talent for their teams

– Capital projects are set for a dramatic jump in investments over the next few years and project owners can now harness an analytics-based approach to plan the best possible teams.

Europe’s €10 billion savings opportunity to deliver onshore wind and solar

– With Europe’s demand for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power set to more than double by 2030, the industry will be hard-pressed to scale up in time—unless it finds a new way to deliver capital projects.

Seize the decade: Maximizing value through preconstruction excellence

– The capital projects ecosystem has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support the transformation of economies—and can avoid past mistakes through preconstruction excellence.

Increasing transparency in megaproject execution

– Cost and schedule overruns are the norm in big capital projects. Here’s how to uncover their causes—and tackle them.

From start-up to scale-up: Accelerating growth in construction technology

– To achieve scale, founders, executives, and investors in construction technology need to eliminate the barriers to efficient growth. Here’s how.

Build together: Rethinking solar project delivery

– Limited engineering and construction capacity could challenge America’s ability to quickly grow renewables. To win in an undersupplied market, renewables players can rethink project delivery.

Making modular construction fit

– Modular building systems could address many of the US construction industry’s current woes, but the sector needs to remodel itself first.

The strategic era of procurement in construction

– As the industry transitions to sustainable construction, chief procurement officers will play key roles in helping companies decarbonize and improve profitability.

Semiconductor fabs: Construction challenges in the United States

– Major semiconductor players have undertaken and announced US-based fab construction projects, and more are under consideration. Here’s a road map for moving ahead.

Batteries included: Building and operating sustainable gigafactories

– As the demand for electric vehicles grows, so does the demand for the batteries to power them. Meeting that demand will require more gigafactories to be built at speed and scale.

Accelerating capital projects to secure advantages in the net-zero transition

– Ambitious net-zero deadlines require speedy project completion. Here’s how leaders of capital projects can strike a balance between the costs and benefits of accelerating delivery.

Generative scheduling: Saving time and money in capital projects

– With both infrastructure spending and inflation on the rise, optimizing scheduling and work sequencing can accelerate projects and unlock valuable savings.

How to manage the coming wave of investment in capital projects

– About $130 trillion is expected to flow into infrastructure upgrades over the next five years. How can companies spend that most efficiently?

Capital investment is about to surge: Are your operations ready?

– By 2027, about $130 trillion will flood into capital projects. But few organizations today could deliver with the speed and operational efficiency the influx demands.

Training your own capital-project talent

– With talent scarce, systemic capability building has become an imperative for the capital-project industry. Here’s how to get it right.

Bridging the labor mismatch in US construction

– US construction projects are short-staffed today, and the problem is set to get worse. Here’s what the sector can do to close the gap.

Project delivery hubs: Analytics for better megaproject outcomes

– By providing tailored project-delivery intelligence to decision makers, an analytics hub can reduce risk and increase the odds of successful completion.

An ecosystem of partners: The foundation of capital project excellence

– To deliver large capital projects in heavy industry more efficiently, project owners can consider forming an ecosystem of partners and fundamentally rethinking ways of working together.

The Next Normal

As the world becomes more urban, more people will live and work in high-rises. What will that mean for builders, real-estate companies, and tenants? In this edition, The Next Normal explores the high-rise of 2030.

Building a transport system that works: Five insights from our 25-city report

– We benchmarked urban-transport systems in 25 cities around the globe to find out what goes into the making of a smooth commute.

Call for action: Seizing the decarbonization opportunity in construction

– As decarbonization initiatives gain momentum, construction players can benefit from this growing trend—but only if they view ESG as a strategic opportunity and collaborate with other stakeholders in the ecosystem.

The project of the future: The best ideas from the 2021 GII Summit

– At the seventh Global Infrastructure Initiative Summit, more than 500 leaders gathered to explore the future of the industry. Here are some of the best ideas that surfaced in project development, project delivery, and digital and talent strategy.

Capital Projects 5.0: Reimagining capital-project delivery

– What could your business achieve if your large capital projects were 30 to 50 percent faster and cheaper? The opportunity is more real than you think.

Why the time is right to reinvent capital-project delivery

– What could your business achieve if your large capital projects were 30 to 50 percent faster and cheaper? The opportunity is more real than you think.

Agile delivery of capital projects

– Industry leaders are using the agile approach to reimagine how capital projects are delivered.

Walking the talk: Best practices for digital construction

– We are taking the advice we typically give our clients and applying it to our own construction project—and we’ll be sharing the challenges and lessons as we go.

Resetting capital spending in the wake of COVID-19

– Amid the pandemic, many CFOs are struggling to stabilize cash flows. A quick reset of capital spending—which can usually be achieved in about four weeks—can help them reach their goals.

The next normal in construction: How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem

– The COVID-19 crisis looks set to accelerate an overdue transformation of the world’s largest ecosystem. We expect nine shifts to radically change the construction value chain, and offer a blueprint for the next normal ahead.

More from this practice

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Global Infrastructure Initiative

McKinsey’s Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII) is a community of the world’s most senior leaders in infrastructure and capital projects, committed to identifying tangible ways to improve the delivery of essential infrastructure.
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McKinsey welcomes Westney Consulting, a leading capital-projects consultancy

– The acquisition further helps us ensure on-time and on-budget delivery of our clients capital projects.

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